BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Election Day in the contentious race for Buffalo mayor was over two weeks ago, but we now have a winner: Incumbent Byron Brown has secured a fifth term in City Hall.
Vote counters stayed late Friday evening at the Erie County Board of Elections tallying write-in votes. Brown has received 38,338 total write-in votes and surpassed Democratic challenger India Walton’s 25,773 votes. The BOE has counted write-in votes from all 291 districts.
The next step is certifying the general election totals with New York State, which must be done by November 27 per state law. Erie County Election Commissioner Ralph Mohr told News 4 he hopes to have the ballots certified before that November 27 deadline.
Between election night and absentee votes, the BOE reported 36,439 write-ins cast versus 25,198 votes for Walton. However, it was not known how many of those write-in votes were for Brown, versus other write-in candidates Ben Carlisle, William O’Dell, Jaz Miles and Miles Carter.
Democrat and Republican vote-counters sat at five tables starting Wednesday deciding if a write-in vote counted and who the ballot counted for. It became clear after the first day of counting that Brown was on the path to victory as 99 percent of the first write-in votes were for Brown.
“There’s never been this size of a write-in as far as anyone can tell in the State of New York,” Jeremy Zellner, the Democratic BOE commissioner told News 4.
Here’s a breakdown of the results:
India Walton: 25,773
Byron Brown: 38,338
Ben Carlisle: 219
William O’Dell: 8
Jaz Miles: 23
India Walton released this statement following the final vote count.
“Today, I respectfully accept the will of the voters. I believe that there is healing required, and I remain committed to working to reduce poverty and using my platform to create the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve. This election was not an end, but a beginning. The new ideas we articulated, the new energy we inspired, the new volunteers we trained, and the new relationships we built will only grow in the coming years. This campaign planted many seeds. The blossoms are inevitable,” said India Walton, Democratic nominee for Buffalo mayor.